State College Spikes

Joe Kruzel to return as State College Spikes manager in 2018

Joe Kruzel is set to serve as the State College Spikes manager again this summer.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced Kruzel’s return to the Spikes on Thursday. Kruzel, who led State College to a 40-35 record in 2017, will be joined by hitting coach Roger LaFrancois, pitching coach Adrian Martin and strength and conditioning coach Don Trapp in 2018.

“We are thrilled that Joe and Roger will be back with us in 2018,” Spikes general manager Scott Walker said in a news release. “Both of them have endeared themselves to Spikes fans, and along with the additions of Adrian and Don, we can’t wait to see what they have planned for this summer.”

It will be Kruzel’s sixth year as a manager in professional baseball after leading the Johnson City Cardinals in 2013 and the Peoria Chiefs from 2014-16 before his first season in State College last year.

LaFrancois will be the Spikes’ hitting coach for the fourth straight season. Martin will be in his first season as a professional pitching coach after spending 2017 on the coaching staff of the Memphis Redbirds.

Former Spikes pitching coach Darwin Marrero was named the pitching coach for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals, where he’ll work with former Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez. Rodriguez will be in his second year as the Springfield manager in 2018.